Thesis: Eckensberger 2001

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Eckensberger 2001- Discussion Questions

Does the author present a view of society?

Yes, the author presents a view of society, largely based on action theory. However, because action theory looks at the entire range of human action, not all theorists use the same terminology or even agree on how to define actions within society. Therefore, the author discusses the various viewpoints espoused by different theorists, as well as the different terminology they use. More importantly, while action psychology provides insight into society, its focus is not on society, therefore it would be erroneous to label action theory a sociological theory or even a psycho-social theory, though it can be used to help explain both sociological and psycho-social behaviors and norms.

However, because action theory is based upon the notion that human beings have free will, it does invite reflections upon society and the social nature of man. For example, the issue of free will leads to the question of whether Homo Sapiens occupy a unique position in nature because it is the only species that can decide not to follow natural laws. In addition, through direct action, human beings can actually impact the world in a way that changes the natural world, which impacts other humans, helping form a society.

2. How does the author discuss the relationship between individual and society?

The author primarily focuses on psychology, which does not necessarily reflect the same emphasis on society as authors focused on sociology. However, the author discusses human actions within the framework of broad psychology, and seems to suggest that most human behaviors can be explained within an action framework. Action psychology can be the basis of analysis for motivation, problem-solving, ontogenic development, social psychology, and cultural psychology. In this way, action psychology can be used to help explain all applied domains, including clinical psychology, educational psychology, organizational psychology, and sport psychology. In fact, when viewed from the perspective of action theory, the boundaries between the different psychology domains becomes unclear, since human actions form a unifying link for all of these domains. This reflects the relationship between individuals and society because it presumes that individual actors have free will, rather than assuming that people's actions are predestined due to factors like class or race. Therefore, action psychologists seem to suggest that individuals have the ability to greatly impact society, rather than merely being the products of society.

However, the degree of impact that human beings can have on society is naturally limited, by the presupposition that human beings have free will. This means that one person cannot cause something in another person. Instead, because both people have free will, one can only understand and interpret another's intentions.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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